The South Asia Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has called for speeding up the sustainable development progress.
The Forum came up with the call at a programme jointly organized by the government of Bangladesh and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in the city on Sunday, said a press release.Over 100 government, think-tank and civil society participants from eight South Asian countries participated in the talk to find ways for accelerating action to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
Nagesh Kumar, Director, ESCAP South and South-West Asia Office highlighted the need for accelerated action for achieving SDGs in South Asia. Although the sub-region has 25 per cent of world’s population, it is hard hit by larger share of 36 per cent of global people living in extreme poverty and hunger, he added.
He further noted that the world could not achieve SDGs if South Asia fails to achieve those.
Citing the ESCAP’s Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2019, he said South Asia was lagging behind in 15 out of 17 goals, despite a sustained and robust economic growth rate.
In particular, South Asia has not done well in achieving Goal 2 (Zero hunger), Goal 5 (Gender equality and empowerment), Goal 9 (Reduced inequalities), and Goal 11 (Sustainable cities and communities).
Kumar stressed the need for South Asia to strengthen its means of SDG implementation enhancing finance, technology, market access, data and statistics and capacity building as it would be hard to achieve the SDGs in South Asia without making progress in regional cooperation and global partnerships.Importance of regional cooperation, especially in complementing the national strategies for achieving SDGs was prioritized.
Monowar Ahmed, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh, highlighted the ambitious nature of the SDGs, which cannot be achieved in isolation without regional cooperation among all stakeholders and actors.
Mia Seppo, the UN Resident Coordinator of Bangladesh, drew attention to the considerable challenges related to climate change and resilience. One of the greatest challenges has been eradicating all forms of poverty and reducing all forms of violence and conflicts. She highlighted further that many sections of the people are marginalized and vulnerable with differential access to common resources.
Abul Kalam Azad, Chief Coordinator for SDG Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office, highlighted that the Forum provided a great opportunity to all the South-Asian countries to share their experiences, and to discuss how to overcome the challenges and strengthen the means of implementation.